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Angels in the Architecture: A Photographic Elegy to an American Asylum

Overview

In the nineteenth century, perhaps no approach to mental illness was more compassionate than that of hospital administrator Thomas Story Kirkbride, whose asylum designs integrated beauty and nature as a method to treat patients. The Northern Michigan Asylum in Traverse City, Michigan, was one of the last of nearly two hundred such architecturally intriguing asylums. Founded in 1885 under the principle "beauty is therapy," the Northern Michigan Asylum closed in 1989 and today stands as a haunting reminder of this ...
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Overview

In the nineteenth century, perhaps no approach to mental illness was more compassionate than that of hospital administrator Thomas Story Kirkbride, whose asylum designs integrated beauty and nature as a method to treat patients. The Northern Michigan Asylum in Traverse City, Michigan, was one of the last of nearly two hundred such architecturally intriguing asylums. Founded in 1885 under the principle "beauty is therapy," the Northern Michigan Asylum closed in 1989 and today stands as a haunting reminder of this lost era. Angels in the Architecture is a photographic study of this institution's one-hundred-year history. Heidi Johnson's photographs of the building today are juxtaposed with rare images from private collections and state archives. Johnson has captured Kirkbride's spirit of compassion—of angels in the architecture—in a book that conveys the human element of mental illness with beauty and integrity.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814332122
  • Publisher: Wayne State University Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2004
  • Series: Great Lakes Books Series
  • Pages: 212
  • Sales rank: 586,351
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Heidi Johnson was a professional photographer whose clients include Michigan Land Use Institute, HOUR Detroit Magazine, Warner Brothers, Best Buy Corporation, and the state of Michigan. She was a former artist-in-residence in photography at Interlochen Arts Academy.
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2002

    Compelling

    'Angels in the Architecture' is a first-rate homage to a former asylum, the Traverse City State Hospital of Michigan. Heidi Johnson has masterfully combined her hauntingly beautiful photographs with both archival material and first-hand reports from the trenches. The result is a powerfully compelling journey into the soul of a once vibrant institution that provided care to thousands of its disenfranchised wards.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted February 2, 2009

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